Working on the website for The Word, I completed the “Psalms of Ascent” this morning. These psalms were customarily sung during Pilgrimage to Jerusalem, as going to The Holy City is always considered an ascent. It was also custom to sing one of these fifteen psalms [120-134] on each one of the 15 steps leading into the Temple, when one reached the Temple for each Khag. There was a Khag three times a year: Passover, Shavu’ot [Pentecost], and Sukkot [Tabernacles], each of which were ‘pilgrim feasts’, meaning every Jewish man was required to be at Jerusalem for those feasts.
Each Psalm of Ascent is so named because it starts with “Shir HaMa’alot”, meaning “A Song of Ascents”. There are fifteen of them, and there are 15 steps leading into the Temple, and into the Sanctuary, as seen above. It is believed that there are 15, because “Yah”, as in Hallelu “Yah”, [Praise Yah] has a numeric value of 15. David designed the temple, and wrote these songs for the service of the Temple. Ezra restored the worship of David to the Second Temple. We in the Messianic community are fulfilling a prophecy about restoring the fallen “Sukka” of David. [‘After this I will return, and I will set up again the Sukka of David which has fallen down; and I will repair what has fallen from it, and I will set it up, so that a remnant of the sons of Man may seek after יהוה , and also all the Goyim upon whom My Name is called; so said יהוה , who does all these things.’ Acts 15:16-17 ]
The letters for “Yah” are יה , yod and heh, holding the values 10 and 5. During “Sukkot”, there was a water libation, or pouring ceremony, and the Priests would descend the 15 steps to the altar and pour water that had been gathered from all directions from the Temple. They would bring it through the eastern gate after the gathering. While they were conducting this ceremony in Yeshua’s last year on earth, on the last day of the Feast of Sukkot, Yeshua stood outside the sanctuary and declared, ““If any man is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. Whoever trusts in me, just as the scriptures have said, the rivers of Mayim Khayim [Living Water] shall flow from within him.” John 7:37-38. Leading up to Yom Kippur, the Pharisees were teaching the Jews all the scriptures about “Living Water”. Jews from all over the world were in Jerusalem for the MOST JOYOUS FEAST of the year. They had been singing the Songs of Ascent on their way to Jerusalem. They had heard them sung by the Priests, just before the ceremony, and perhaps WHILE Yeshua stood just outside the walls of the court of Abraham and declared Himself to be the source of Mayim Khayim.
The Yod and the Heh in “Yah” are said to represent the Physical and the Spiritual aspects of creation, respectively. They had ascended to praise Him. And Yeshua had stood in the outer court and declared that He was the source of Mayim Khayim. A day later, He was tested by the Pharisees. They accused a woman of adultery. Yeshua wrote in the dirt as they made their accusation. He stood up and said one of His most famous lines, “He who is among you who is without sin, let him first throw a stone at her,” and then bent down again and began to write in the dirt again. It is my belief that He wrote their names in the dirt, from oldest to youngest. Here’s why: One of the scriptures they would have read leading up to the Water Libation the day before was: “You, O Mikveh [immersion pool] of Yisra’el, יהוה ! All that forsake You shall be ashamed; they that depart from Me shall be written in the earth, because they have forsaken יהוה , the fountain of Mayim Khayim.” [Jer 17:13]
Yeshua is the source of Mayim Khayim. He is the immersion pool [Mikveh] of Israel, whom most of Israel has rejected, seen very symbolically in those Pharisees of Yokhanan 8, who tried to accuse someone in a manner of accusation that violated Torah, for the sake of establishing their authority. That is usually why people accuse others of the very same sin of which they are guilty.
One of my favorite of the Ascents is 133. It speaks of the UNITY of brothers, and compares that unity to the oil of our anointing. It further compares that oil to the dew of Israel that comes down out of its highest, northern-most mountain, Khermon, which is the source of ALL WATER for Israel, the ‘figure’ of Mayim Khayim. This psalm is a picture of Messiah being anointed as our High Priest, who is offering ‘the blessing’ of Salvation/Yeshua, which is ETERNAL LIFE, sourced by LIVING WATER. Yeshua.
All the Psalms of Ascent before 133 are about the struggle of ascending, the pitfalls of life, the weapons of the adversary, and effectively the mixed blessing of belonging to Him and yet struggling in this life. But, they conclude with 133, and the promise of ETERNAL LIFE, and then with 134 where we are commanded to BLESS יהוה as we ‘stand in His House’ in the ‘night seasons’. Even in DARK and DANGEROUS times, we are TO ASCEND. Because HE is our source of SALVATION.
His WORD is so, so meaningful, apart from just a surface understanding. It is indeed Mayim Khayim.